Alan Cochrane seems to have rather a lot of nagging questions and doubts about this new-fangled "independence-lite" concept. I really wouldn't want his nights to become tormented over this, so I feel it's my duty to help set his mind at rest...
"The stuff they’re advocating is the same old warmed over nonsense that they continually fall back on whenever they’re faced with the certainty that, their stupendous Holyrood election result notwithstanding, hardly anyone in Scotland supports their core objective of separation."
"Hardly anyone" seems to refer to the trifling 38% of the electorate a recent ComRes poll found to be in favour of independence. Even the last YouGov survey put the figure at 29%.
"The idea that Mr Salmond and his team no longer wish for Scotland to take its “rightful place” – their words, not mine – among the community of nations at the UN and EU is nonsense."
Glad you've noticed. They've only made that clear about 798 times over the last ten days.
"but how could these international bodies accept not one but two states from these islands as full members?"
They already do, Alan. Those states are commonly known as the "United Kingdom" and the "Republic of Ireland". Easy mistake to make, though - the latter country has been relatively low-profile (at least for Telegraph readers) over the years, but now the British monarch has graced it with her presence it may finally enjoy a brief moment in the sun.
"And if Scotland wasn’t admitted to the United Nations or European Union, what kind of independence would that be?"
See above. Although I would have thought a rabid Eurosceptic like Alan ought to be insisting (like the troll over at Stuart Dickson's blog) that Scotland could only really be independent if it doesn't join the EU.
"How could we share defence policy, when an SNP run Scotland would ban the use of Faslane as home to Britain’s nuclear deterrent and would object to Scottish troops being used in conflicts of which Mr Salmond disapproved; never forget his “unpardonable folly” jibe about the West’s offensive against Serbia in Bosnia (sic)?"
Which, I would have thought, also begs the question of how Britain and France's defence capabilities could become as intertwined and mutually dependent as they just have when the two countries were at loggerheads over the war in Iraq - a more recent conflict than Kosovo, in case Alan hasn't noticed. Answer : when it's in the overwhelming strategic and economic interests of two countries for such pooling of resources to take place, it's likely to happen. It doesn't preclude either side from opting out of a piece of reckless and unlawful adventurism.
"Perhaps above all, how could an independent Scotland share macro-economic policy with England, presumably eschewing the euro and continuing with sterling? That way Scotland would be bound still to ‘English’ interest rate policy. What’s independent about that?"
Again, I'll have to direct Alan's attention towards that obscure entity known as the "Republic of Ireland". The Irish retained sterling for five decades after independence - I doubt, in any case, that Scotland will be breaking their record.
"this latest flurry is merely the latest bid by the Nats not to frighten the horses and part of their incremental tactics to get what they want – which is "a completely separate state outside the United Kingdom". I was roundly criticised by Mr Salmond when this newspaper tested that precise formula in an opinion poll a few years ago. He accused me of using negative – that word again – concepts to attack his plans."
Ah, so it was your idea to turn YouGov into a laughing-stock by insisting on such an absurdly biased and emotionally-laden wording, Alan? That explains a lot. I trust in that case you'd have no difficulty accepting the findings of any SNP-commissioned poll that innocently asked the electorate if they want Scotland to be "a normal independent country with normal powers".
"With constitutional experts, such as Vernon Bogdanor...pouring buckets of cold water of these latest Nat ideas, it really is time for so-called Unionists to see what the SNP is up to."
Vernon Bogdanor is a likeable guy who added much-needed gravitas to the BBC's election night coverage last year, but he's an avowed unionist and an utter dinosaur on the question of British sovereignty. Hardly the most objective authority to pray in aid.
"As far all those Nat activists are concerned, I have only this to say: If this new policy really is Salmond-approved, did you work your guts out in that election to remain part of the hated British state?"
An academic question. But by that logic, "Nat activists" shouldn't have bust a gut campaigning for a devolved parliament within the British state in the 1997 referendum. No, that never got us anywhere, did it Alan?